Medically, the period of time after your baby is born through 6-weeks of age is termed Postpartum. Realistically, this adjustment time lasts for most of the first year after your baby's birth.

Postpartum "Baby Blues"

This is a common reaction that occurs during the first few days after birth, usually appearing on the third or fourth day. More than half of all new mothers experience this feeling of let-down after the emotionally charged experience of birth. You might cry for no apparent reason or be impatient, irritable, restless or anxious. You may also feel extremely fatigued, due to lack of sleep. This is the most common and the less severe of the postpartum reactions.

Postpartum Depression

Despite Tom Cruise's opinions about this important health issue, 1 out of every 10 new mothers experiences various degrees of postpartum depression. This can occur within days of the birth or it may appear gradually...sometimes even up to a year later.

Symptoms may include:

  • nervousness, anxiety, panic
  • sluggishness, fatigue, exhaustion
  • sadness, depression, hopelessness
  • appetite and sleep disturbances
  • poor concentration, confusion, memory loss
  • over-concern for your baby
  • uncontrollable crying, irritability
  • lack of interest in your baby
  • guilt, inadequacy, worthlessness
  • fear of harming your baby and/or yourself
  • exaggerated highs and/or lows
  • lack of interest in sex

If you have postpartum depression, you may experience one or a combination of these symptoms. Your symptoms may range from mild to severe. You may have good days alternating with the bad. Postpartum depression is different for every woman. The symptoms can be quite distressing and can leave a woman wondering if she is "going crazy." Treatment for postpartum depression varies, depending on the type and severity of symptoms. All of the symptoms, from the mildest to the most severe, are temporary and treatable with support and skilled professional help. Talk to your health care provider about what you are feeling.